BlackBerry's Storm coming

Nathan Burley/Ovum
13 Oct 2008

RIM has just announced the Blackberry Storm, its first touchscreen phone.

The Storm adds another impressive device to the Blackberry portfolio, and continues RIM's evolution outside its core market into "prosumer" and consumer segments.

The device will inevitably be compared to the iPhone, but it does have unique features: a multi-tap clickable screen with separate navigation and confirmation domains, longer battery life, expandable memory with micro SD, more Bluetooth profiles and full qwerty keyboard in landscape mode. And as a Blackberry it comes with the security and integration associated with the brand.

RIM also claims the device has been in development since before the first iPhone was announced so should therefore not be directly compared.

At first look, the Storm seems an excellent addition but to continue growth in the consumer market RIM must consider diversifying its handset line-up further and produce more focused consumer-oriented/multimedia devices.

RIM must be careful however not to bite off more than it can chew - diversification into a broader focus consumer company brings considerable challenges.

The Storm will target the higher-end of the market and buyers attracted by its big screen.

It is also expected that the Storm will be priced lower than the BlackBerry Bold. In Asia-Pacific, the phone will be initially available as a Vodafone exclusive in Australia, New Zealand, and India. Other markets are expected to be announced shortly.

Nathan Burley, Analyst

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